The MC-130J Commando II of the U.S. Air Force dropped a payload simulating a pallet with AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) stealth cruise missiles.
The tests were held earlier this year, but details about them appeared only in June. It is noted that in this way the transformation of transport aircraft MC-130J Commando II into arsenal aircraft was mastered. The paper notes: in the course of the exercise, the transport received the coordinates of the point of dropping the pallet, and then a new target was determined for the strike, which required the redirection of missiles. “At its core, the Rapid Dragon concept involves using aircraft as weapons trucks to provide additional striking power, especially during potential higher-end operations against close [to U.S.] competitors like China or Russia,” the paper writes.
In June 2020, the Defense Express news and consulting agency said that the AGM-158B JASSM-ER missile launched from the U.S. Air Force’s B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber is capable of “reaching” Russia without those aircraft entering the area of airspace controlled by the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems. “Given the launch range of the AGM-158B JASSM-ER cruise missiles of 980 kilometers and the AGM-86C [Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile] CALCM of more than 1200 kilometers, this is enough to attack major Russian strategic facilities in the Arctic and parts of Siberia,” the publication said in a related publication.
According to retired Lieutenant General Aitech Bizhev, who also commented on this view at the time, Russia’s air defense systems are capable of shooting down up to 90 percent of targets, including long-range bombers.